Recipe courtesy of Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen

Baked Feta Pasta

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Whether you’re an avid TikTok user or just a casual Instagram consumer, you’ve probably seen the feta and tomato pasta taking the social media world by storm. It has an interesting history. In 2018, Finnish blogger Tiiu Piret (@tiiupiret) shared a recipe for a pasta containing prosecco, baked feta and tomatoes. In 2019, another Finnish blogger, Jenni Häyrinen (@liemessa), shared her simplified version of the dish on her blog and Instagram using the hashtag #uuifetapasta. (Afterward, sales of feta in Finland apparently increased by 300 percent.) American food influencer MacKenzie Smith (@grilledcheesesocial) eventually heard about the dish from a friend with a Finnish boyfriend. In January 2021, she posted a translation of the popular recipe on her blog and Instagram, which led to it going viral in the United States. It’s easy to see why the recipe has achieved such fame: Cherry tomatoes and a whole block of feta are baked until soft and melty, then tossed with garlic, basil and cooked noodles for a beautifully cheesy dish. We opted to use a short tube pasta so the sauce can get trapped inside each piece and added a pinch of flaky sea salt on top to perfectly balance the dish.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the cherry tomatoes and olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and several grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Transfer to a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish, place the feta in the center of the tomatoes and season with a pinch of black pepper. Bake until the tomatoes have burst and the feta has softened, about 30 minutes. Raise the heat to 450 degrees F and continue to cook until the tomatoes and feta are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. 
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 13 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then thoroughly drain the pasta. 
  4. As soon as the tomatoes and feta come out of the oven, stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using). Use the back of a spoon to smash the tomatoes and feta into a smooth and creamy sauce (it’s okay if some of the oil isn’t fully integrated). Add the pasta and half the basil and toss until evenly coated. If the sauce is too thick, stir in some pasta water a couple tablespoons at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the remaining basil and a pinch of sea salt. 

Cook’s Note

Be sure to buy a good-quality feta for this recipe, particularly because it’s the main ingredient and flavor of the dish. We suggest using a medium or firm Greek feta made only from sheep’s milk. Feta made from cow’s milk tends to be crumblier and more sour.

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